Part of Okta’s power is the fact that it can integrate seamlessly with so many different applications and IT solutions. But is that the case with Azure AD? It already works effectively alongside Active Directory and users find that their experience is enhanced by using Okta with Active Directory. But what about Azure? Does it integrate well given that Azure is a competitive Microsoft product?
We’ll answer that question by looking directly at Okta’s integration with Azure AD. In doing so, we shall see whether Okta does truly integrate with Azure AD, and if so, how?
Before answering any of those questions, it is good to go over what exactly Azure AD is. By examining the basics first, it is easier to understand if Okta does really integrate with Azure AD in an effective way and how it manages to do so.
Azure AD’s full name is Azure Active Directory. It is Microsoft’s cloud-based identity and access management service. It helps employees to sign in and access a firm’s digital resources. Those resources can be external like Microsoft 365, the Azure portal, along with many other software applications. Through Azure AD it is also possible for workers to access necessary internal resources that may be stored on a company’s intranet or network, such as different apps.
Azure AD is used by IT admins to manage all the resources a company needs in terms of their IT systems and infrastructure. App developers also use it. Additionally, anyone who uses Microsoft 365, Office 365, or Dynamics CRMOnline are using Azure AD without even realizing it.
Yes, Okta does integrate with Azure AD. The most common integration method for Azure AD is to configure Okta as the Service Provider and Azure AD as the Identity provider.
Delegated Authentication can be enabled, meaning end users are able to sign-in to Okta using their existing Azure AD credentials. Azure AD will authenticate the users as the Identity Provider. Once successfully authenticated to Okta, the end user can then securely access all applications required for their job.
A common use case for this type of integration is B2B, where a company using Okta to manage user access to applications has a partner who requires access to an application to collaborate on a project. To reduce administration and the need to create passwords, the partner's existing Azure AD instance can be quickly integrated to Okta.
This easy integration is a powerful tool. Okta can use inbound federation to delegate authentication to Azure AD via the SAML 2.0 protocol. No wonder the Okta competitive advantage is unrivalled.
Integrating Okta with Azure is possible by following a number of steps. While each individual step has a number of components, once completed, the rewards that can be reaped from the integration are vast. Along with reduced administrative effort, users also find that their user experience as a whole is improved. Productivity is therefore increased through the simplification of the sign-on procedure, amongst many other advantages.
To integrate Okta with Azure, you need to create the Okta enterprise app in Azure Active Directory. Then, create an Identity Provider in Okta for the Azure Active Directory instance. Next, map Azure Active Directory attributes to Okta attributes. Finally, test that the Azure Active directory integration has worked before rolling it out on a company wide scale.
It can be highly beneficial to integrate Okta and Azure Active Directory with one another for a number of reasons. First, using Okta allows for a centralised source of truth for all users in your organisation. Additionally, Okta allows the automation of provisioning, updating, and deprovisioning of user accounts in the external applications users will access securely with SSO via the Okta Tenant. Finally, one of the best rewards for integration of Azure AD with Okta is that a company can give users more choice, as it is possible to provide options beyond the Azure cloud and its corresponding applications.
Azure Active Directory is a widely used identity and access management system from Microsoft. The fact that Okta integrates with it is, arguably, a necessity for Okta’s success. Without integration, Okta would have a much smaller market.
That being said, regardless of why Okta decided to ensure it integrated seamlessly with Azure, the fact of the matter is that it does. And, it does so exceptionally well. Those who use Okta to integrate with Azure can make use of the benefits that both pieces of technology have to offer.
For further information on Okta, check out our other articles like Okta Integration with Salesforce.